Well it’s been a long while since my first post here.
I started this blog as an outlet for me dealing with what it’s like to be different. Then I stopped since no one from what I could tell was reading it. Man has that changed!
A few months ago when at work I was looking at CNN’s website, as I do everyday. One photo essay caught my attention. I always gravitate towards stories of children and more so to stories featuring children who are “different”. The article was about these children who were abandoned and live in this hospital. I apologize but the actual place in the world escapes me just now. The children featured were deformed in some way, they believe that they were born this way because of the dangerous and harmful effects of a chemical called agent orange. I learned about this chemical in school during our studies on WW!! (or was it WW! that it was mainly used) and knew that it was banned a long time ago and also know that it’s still being used in a lot of poorer countries since they can’t afford the alternatives. This is disturbing enough all in of itself but NOT what really got me. At the start of the photo essay there was a warning that read as follows “Warning: the following photographs contain graphic content of severely deformed children. viewer discretion is advised.” This PISSED me off to no end because the first picture was of this sweet little girl who had the biggest smile you could tell that despite her surroundings she was HAPPY. The other reason why this hurt me was because I am different. I am “deformed” and reading that view discretion warning ahead of the article was amount to telling me that every time I left the house I should wear a similar warning. I of course commented on the article not thinking anything would happen (and it didn’t) so the next day I emailed them directly I wrote about how I was so hurt and offended and that i wanted to stick up for those children and give them a voice. They don’t know what/who CNN is they don’t know that they were “labeled” as so many of us are so I asked, pleaded with CNN to reconsider their warning. Again I didn’t think anything of it I sent the email with thought that I tried that I gave a voice.
To my surprise the next day I got an email from CNN a wonderful person whom I have come to know named Debbi and she wanted to let me know that she had got my email and that she would forward it to the “powers that be” to see if it can be changed. Again I was just THRILLED that the acknowledged me and that was all I needed. The next day she emailed me again to let me know that they had agreed to change the wording so that it wasn’t so insensitive but she also asked if she could call me. She had a proposal to run by me and of course I jumped at that!
What happened next has changed my life. When she called me a few days later she again apologized for the insensitive word choice and asked if I would be ok if they shared my story. ME, CNN wanted to do a story about me…. even writing this now it’s surreal and so crazy! Debbi and I made a date to talk again so that she could interview me we have spoken before this and since and just want to let everyone know that the people who write these articles are AMAZING people. The first draft of the article was a bit long so they had to shorten it but I will post the extended version here in a few days. I emailed her pictures and just waited.
Today it was posted and the response has been amazing. I have committed to not reading the comments since some people are jerks but have friends and family trolling them and sending me the best including a poem that was written by a lovely person which again I will share in a bit.
So to all those who read this THANKS!! You are all amazing people who have touched my heart and restore some of my faith in humanity.
17 thoughts on “One person really can make a difference”
Hi Penny, I read your article and was moved beyond words. The strength you have as a person is so inspiring. It made me so sad to think about what you’ve been through, and all the cruel and senseless people you’ve met in your life. Please know that you have support around the globe now and we’re all thinking about you. I know that reading your story has changed my life. Never lose your positivity and light 🙂
thank YOU Penny, for restoring my faith in humanity!!!
i just read the article about you and googled you right a way which led me to your blog….you have touched my heart in a very special way….so again thank you for being the sunshine that you are.
by speaking up, you have been heard and that is all that it takes to get noticed. please continue to speak and become a person people have to reckon with.
i am truly embarrassed to say that the appearance of a person has a influence on me. i really am. and i am no ‘looker’ by any means….i’ve asked myself a million times why that is and the only thing i can come up with is fear. fear of what is different. and when it comes to the appearance of a person it’s such a personal experience that the fearful person will automatically react in fear in many different ways…i admit, i am fearful sometimes…but by being exposed to your story i will try my best to not be afraid things i am not used to…you rocked my world!!!
You have shared such a lovely story- I thank you for that. As for myself [and I guess I live in a ‘different world’], I don’t view physical differences as ‘deformities’- it’s the person INSIDE that matters. You must take time to learn more about the brother/sister standing next to you…
Penny: You are indeed an inspiration and I am so happy for all the fabulous responses you’ve gotten since the CNN article posted. I feel blessed to be the first person to comment on your latest blog post. I like the title of blog…”Uniquely Penny”…that is so appropos. We are all unique and it is such a shame that many people don’t appreciate the uniqueness of others.
Well, I read that you hoped one day to come to Comic-Con. My wife and I live in the San Diego area and would love to host you in our home if you are able to come. We have four available bedrooms and frequently have people from all over the world stay with us. We would love to meet you and show you around. We even have an extra car you could use if you needed one.
Blessings to you!
Saw your story on CNN Penny, couldn’t resist looking you up, I honestly think your cute and I would go on a date with you in a minute! I have a friend who got kicked in the face by a horse when he was young and couldn’t believe how mean kids and adults can be to a good person, I think those type of people are insecured jerks and this is how they make themselves feel good. I would like to be email buddies if you have the time I want to get to know you, my name is kevin and I wish you the best.
Good for you glad you have gotten some great responses. Don’t listen to The jerks out there. You deserve to be happy. Don’t be afraid to eperience love we all get hurt regardless but it’s so rewarding. And I know you said you would Never Want to go to a theme park but Disneyland is amazing and would be Fun. I go with you.
I honestly believe you’ll have many followers soon. A global family is good, and from the articles I’ve read, you’re a good person.
Indeed Penny, listen… you’ll probably get alot of these messages… but I’m looking at the picture of you and your “core group of friends” on the CNN article and I see a sweet, attractive young woman with nice skin, wearing a yellow dress. Don’t give up on romance. For real.
Congratulations! May you continue to write, share and inspire those around you! Don’t forget how beautiful you are, inside and out!
Hey Penny! Just wanted to say your cnn story was very inspirational to me.
You are the one person that really can make a difference and inspire.
Go for it!
I read your story in CNN.com here in my home town Cleveland, Ohio – the #1 vacation destination in the world. Don’t listen to those Orlando folks! We would love to have you anyday. You deserve a hero’s welcome.
What exactly is needed for you to be able to attend Comicon?
I recommend setting up a way for people to contribute, I am sure that others including myself would be more then willing to donate some resources to that effect.
The adversity that you have faced has turned you into a beautiful person, things will hopefully get better from here on out. 🙂
What a light you are, Penny Loker. Looks like thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people are examining their hearts because you are brave enough to speak up not only for yourself, but on behalf of a group of misunderstood and unheard people. There is a lot of terrible news out in the world, and you are not a part of it. You are the opposite thing. Thank you, and thank God you are not alone.
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Hey! Great stuff, glad you made an effort and have been rewarded!
Hi. Just read an article about you on CNN. You are truly an inspiration and role model. I noticed you were raised in waterloo. Are you still in that area? I found that to be an interesting coincidence. I was asked to come to Waterloo Canada for two weeks may/June to work on a project for my company KPMG. I know this sounds crazy but I would love to have the opportunitry to meet you and grab lunch. Thanks again for your wonderful spirit. God Bless and be well.